Meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Los Cabos: Strengthening global governance
The first-ever G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting has concluded in Los Cabos, Mexico. At their informal get-together from 18 to 20 February, the ministers consulted on how the G20 can most effectively approach the most pressing global challenges together. Foreign Minister Westerwelle commended the “international leadership” of Mexico and its Foreign Minister, Patricia Espinosa. The country has hosted major international conferences twice recently: the G20 meeting in Los Cabos follows the December 2010 climate change conference in Cancún.
Logo of the Mexican G20 Presidency
“We can see that the new centres of power are not only growing economically, but also gaining political influence,” Westerwelle underscored. He added that the need for foreign policy to adjust to a changed world was evident. Westerwelle went on to say that Europe was well advised to enter into strategic partnerships with the countries that had experienced tremendous economic and political success in recent years.
Alongside current issues such as the European debt crisis and strengthening competition, the reform of existing multilateral institutions was a major topic at Los Cabos. “Everyone involved recognizes the need to reform international decision-making structures,” Foreign Minister Westerwelle said after the meeting. This, he said, was especially true of the United Nations. He stressed that modernizing the “political architecture of our times” was indispensable to improving global governance.
The G20 met for the first time at foreign minister level in Los Cabos. The G20, a group which had previously been concerned mainly with economic and financial issues, thereby expanded its focus to include foreign and security policy issues.
The members of the Group of Twenty (G20) are the major industrialized countries and emerging economies as well as the European Union. Together they represent 90% of global GDP and two thirds of the world’s population. The G20 was established in 1999 in response to the 1990s financial crisis in Asia, originally as a grouping of finance ministers and central bank directors. Mexico holds the G20 Presidency for 2012.
© photothek / Köhler
Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, the host of the event, emphasized that the Mexican G20 Presidency sought to build consensus between emerging and established players in order to foster the growth and stability of the global economy. The informal atmosphere of the meeting in Los Cabos provided an excellent opportunity to pursue this goal. Foreign Minister Westerwelle said the meeting offered a chance to discuss and make progress on many global issues in an intimate and relaxed environment without formalities or large delegations.
Broad perspectives on global challenges
With the Mexican Foreign Minister
© photothek / Köhler
Foreign Minister Espinosa noted that the G20 ministers meeting offered the advantage of the foreign ministers’ broad perspectives. Foreign ministers, she said, had “the big picture” in mind and could consult on issues spanning the entire spectrum of global challenges, from security policy to climate protection to economic and financial matters. Attaining the most concrete and tangible results possible in global governance, she said, was a key priority for her.
Beyond this, the G20 meeting provided a chance to hold many bilateral talks on the margins. The German Foreign Minister had an especially close exchange with the host, his Mexican counterpart. Their conversation particularly focused on the development of Mexico and of Latin America as a whole. In the run up to the G20 meeting, Westerwelle took his third trip to Latin America, visiting Brazil, Peru and Panama. At his initiative, the German Government adopted an interministerial strategy in August 2010 to shape Germany’s long-term Latin America policy.
“Latin America is a dynamic continent,” Westerwelle said. “We in Europe need to watch out so that we are not left behind, resting on the laurels of our prosperity.”
Last updated 21.02.2012